Hops for Heroes

Monday 4th January 2021

As we enter a new year, the NHS faces new challenges and continues to save lives and treat people through this awful pandemic. More than ever they need our support to reduce pressure on their services as much as possible by staying home. For you guys, our customers, that means staying in and ordering online. And you have been in your droves, each doing your bit. And many of you have donated “Hero Vouchers” as part of your order. Contributing to a fund for front line workers, to give something for them to look forward to. Just as the vaccine is a light at the end of a long dark tunnel for the wider world, so we are hoping to provide a bit of sunshine for the incredible folks who are keeping us going, keeping us safe and putting themselves in harms way in order to do it. We are extending our programme to include all front line workers, be they fire, police, teachers, social care. If you know someone who has gone above and beyond this last year to help others through this rubbish, awful situation, please get in touch and we can reward them! Email maryjane@ilkleybrewery.co.uk with your nominations. Thank you.


Tuesday 12th January 2021

As we approached Lockdown 2.0 at the back end of last year, after her hsuband placed an order and pointed out our scheme to her, Sally Moore reached out to shine a light on the work done by the Respiratory Research team at Bradford Institute for Health Research, led by Sister Karen Regan and Dr Saralaya. They have been working flat out on multiple Covid research trials (including the recovery trial which proved the value of dexamethasone in covid patients requiring oxygen), and are now working lots of extra days and hours every week to make covid vaccine trials happen in the community. Last week they will have given all the participants in their current trial their second vaccination  (Novavax) https://www.nihr.ac.uk/news/novavax-phase-3-covid-19-vaccine-trial-completes-enrollment-in-two-months/26321. Bradford is the second highest recruiter for this study in the country and they are hoping to start trials for yet another vaccine in February.

My team has worked extremely hard throughout this pandemic and I am so proud of them. They have had to cancel leave, work weekends and evenings and take on roles out of their comfort zones. They have done this with good grace and humour and while understandably there have been some wobbles, with little complaint.

We are still busier than we have ever been, working flat out on the vaccine trials alongside the Covid treatment trials but my team continues to deliver.

Karen Regan
NIHR Patient Recruitment centre Clinical Manager | Respiratory Research Nurse| Patient Recruitment Centre | Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

It really is amazing and humbling to hear stories of the work going on behind the scenes to combat COVID. Often away from the news stories and the headlines, the real people doing such important work. And although all the venues are currently closed, we have arranged for a £50 restaurant voucher for one member of the team, as well two people each being awarded a night’s stay at the wonderful Red Lion B&B in Burnsall. Names were drawn out of a hat by Karen, and once it’s safe, they will be getting a well-deserved treat.


Tuesday 4th August 2020

These next deserving people have had a direct impact on Ilkley Brewery, through their treatment of one of the owners, Luke Raven. He has been receiving treatment for arthritis at Leeds Teaching Trust hospitals now for 20 years. At 39 now, he has always brought down the average age at clinics! Over the past few years, his condition has deteriorated, requiring multiple operations, including a full knee replacement, and also included a fun bout of Sepsis. The condition is chronic and requires a raft of treatments and pain relief, but mostly involves immune-system suppression. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic this of course meant, that along with countless others with immune-response conditions, he was in the Extremely Vulnerable category. Very few patients in this clinic would have considered their conditions to be life-critical, purely quality-of-life limiting. But suddenly they have found themselves part of the potential “had underlying health conditions” gang.

The team at Chapel Allerton Hospital, where I have received care from almost all departments and wards over the years, have always been fantastic at looking after me. And during this time of crisis, when receiving our regular treatments has been more essential than ever and I’ve needed reassurance of my safety more than ever, I’ve felt completely safe in their hands. The hospital didn’t remain untouched by COVID, and of course, many staff were re-purposed to help the fight directly. Through it all though, the continued dedication and support for those of us needing to come to the hospital for regular treatments, has been quite literally, a lifesaver. I went into shielding mode early, bringing my kids out of school and isolating as a family from the beginning of March, as I watched the situation unfold. My monthly trips to Chapel Allerton for an infusion treatment have been my only meaningful forays into the outside world during the past 4 months. While the experience isn’t exactly a pleasant one by its nature, I really do have to salute the work everyone at the hospital has done to ensure that essential treatments, contact, and consultation have remained operational. At a time when I’m most at risk, I have never felt more looked after. Not all heroes wear capes, but they do wear PPE. Thank you guys.


Tuesday 19th May 2020

Meet Drs Andy Morley-Smith and Aderonke Abiodun, who work at St Barts in London. They have been nominated by team-mate and fellow doc, Doug Cannie.

When COVID-19 struck, the cardiology team at St Bartholomew’s was repurposed to look after patients suffering from the virus.  Drs Morley-Smith and Abiodun not only started working on the wards and on ITU to help COVID patients but also gave their time to reorganise the rotas and make sure that the hospital was ready for the influx of patients.  Their hard work, commitment, and self-sacrifice epitomize the teams at St Bartholomew’s hospital and throughout the NHS that have helped bring COVID under control.  Even under the stresses and strains of this crisis, these two doctors find the time to check in on their colleagues’ well-being, offering support and help where needed.  They should feel proud of their contribution and are both true NHS Heroes.


Thursday 14th May 2020

This is Katy Findlay, part of the Mental Health Team in Sheffield. She was nominated by her sister, Becki Wolfe, all the way from her home in Dubai!

Still smiling undert that mask, 13 hours into a 14 hours shift

“Mental Health services are very much the forgotten service and are at the bottom of the pile when it comes to funding and support. Along with mental health care, they still carry out general nursing duties, which is often overlooked. These amazing nurses will, no doubt, be the ones who are still picking up the pieces once the initial Covid-19 panic is over! My sister, Katy is a Mental Health Nurse, working on a ward with confirmed cases and the enforcement of any social distancing is, understandably, a constant, unattainable, challenge! To try to break down barriers with the people they work with, Mental Health Nurses do not usually wear uniforms, however, they are currently having to cobble together bits of mismatched gear in different sizes and styles, in a vain attempt to minimize the risk of contamination. There are no changing facilities for the nurses where my sister works, so she has to get changed in the shed when she gets home as she has 4 children who are on lockdown – the risk to her and her family is real! I know that she will feel uncomfortable being recognized but she absolutely deserves a shout out! 💕”

We salute you guys and will be sending your reward directly, working with one of our fantastic trade partners in your area to provide something special.


Wednesday 1st April 2020

As soon as this crisis began it became clear the immense strain front-line workers of all types were being put under. At a time when many people began to hunker down and adapt to a new reality that for many may not be really much more than an inconvenience, heroes up and down the country have been risking their lives working to protect ours.

There was an immediate consensus across the brewing industry that we needed to support the effort in any way we could, and as soon as we saw Cloudwater add a token to their webshop, we picked up the phone to Paul and joined in the effort. However, we felt that now wasn’t the time to be sending booze to frontline workers, many of whom would be working back-to-back shifts, with long hours and a need for clarity and focus. Escapism and reward would have to come later. We also wanted to find a way of supporting our trade customers in hospitality, as this crisis will take a heavy toll on many businesses as well as lives. So we decided to create a fund, made up of tokens added on our webshop, to go towards rewards and treats for front-line workers when this is all over. So it may be a meal for two, a night away in a B&B, a bar tab, a spa treatment. Each one at a venue nearby the recipient. Each one provided in partnership with one of our key customers.

So as well as reaching out to the hospitals, care homes and doctors surgeries in our region, we have been asking for nominations from you. We appreciate that many doctors, nurses, support workers, and others across the care spectrum won’t necessarily want to come forward themselves. Selflessness is one of the amazing traits they possess to be able to go to work each day and deal with this crisis head-on. Let’s face it, they ALL deserve a treat as well as a clap on a Thursday night. Fortunately, you have been answering our call, and nominating people left right and centre. On this page are going to be the stories of the heroes you nominate.


If you'd like to nominate a key worker for a treat, please get in touch. 
You can also contribute to our NHS fund by adding NHS tokens to your web order, and we'll be handing them out to more deserving heroes. 👏🥇💙 
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